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Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)
Former Murray State athletic director Allen Ward will become Abilene Christian University's director of athletics, according to news reports.
Ward resigned as Murray State's athletic director on Friday, after 13 years with the Racers' program.
Adam King, a reporter at KFVS-TV in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, reported via Twitter Friday evening that Ward would be ACU's next athletic director according to unnamed sources. Other news organizations also have reported that King will be the Wildcats new AD.
ACU has scheduled a news conference to announce its new athletic director for 1 p.m. Monday at the Hunter Welcome Center.
The Wildcats' AD job opened up after Lee De León resigned on May 24 to become the executive senior athletic director and assistant vice president for development at Purdue. De León became ACU's eighth athletic director on Nov. 13, 2014, replacing Jared Mosley, who resigned in August 2014 to become president/CEO of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco. Mosley is currently an associate vice president and chief operating officer at the University of North Texas. At the time, De León was the youngest Division I AD in the country.
ACU begins its sixth season as a Division I athletic program in the Southland Conference in the fall. The Wildcats will be eligible for conference and NCAA postseason play for only the second year, after going through a four-year transition to full DI status.
Ward became Murray State's athletic director on March 30, 2005. On the Murray, Kentucky's Web site, Ward said he had two goals for Racer athletes.
"Our motto is Four Years — Two Goals," Ward said. "We strive for every student-athlete to leave Murray State with a diploma in one hand and a championship ring on the other. I fully expect our student-athletes to take advantage of the opportunity to receive a quality education while competing at the highest level of NCAA competition."
The Murray State site said since Ward's arrival, the overall Academic Progress Rate scores for the department is 984, while donor support is at an all-time high, highlighted by receipt of the largest gift in the history of the program — $3.3 million for the naming of the CFSB Center, the Racers basketball arena. The program regularly finishes in the top-3 of the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioners Cup, capturing the 2009 cup after an 18-year drought, and more than $13.5 million in athletic facility enhancements have been in every sport during Ward's tenure.
Ward, 51, came to Murray State from the University of North Texas, where he served in numerous capacities during 14 years for the Division I FBS program, including the last seven years as senior associate athletics director.
A native of Rolla, Missouri, Ward is a 1989 graduate of William Jewell College and earned his master's degree from Wichita State University.
Ward and his wife, Sharon, have two children: Nathan, 20, and Nicole, 17.
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